New Hyundai i20 vs. Nissan Micra: Diesel comparison

Hyundai has given a fresh look to its successful premium hatchback, the i20 and if you’re a buyer in that segment the Nissan Micra is one car you might consider. So which one of the two is better? We find out!

i20 vs micra

The i20 is known for its spacious interiors, creature and performance. The face lifted i20 adds a dose of fluidic style with its redesigned front grille, bumpers and fresh headlamp and tail lamp clusters. The Nissan Micra is a cute looking small car that offers good interior space, decent comfort features and fuel efficiency.

With a frugal engine under the hood, the Micra is also low on running costs. But are these attributes of the Micra enough to take on the new i20? To find the answer, we compare the i20 1.4 Asta with the Micra 1.5 XV Premium.

Performance and handling

Under the hood of the Nissan Micra diesel, is the same 1.5-litre CRDi engine that pulls the Mahindra Verito (Logan). Step on the clutch pedal, press the start-stop button and you will be happy to not feel the engine’s clatter or hear its sound. Even when driven at three digit speeds, the Micra diesel is fairly quiet on the inside.

new i gen-i20
Photo: The i20 is ahead in terms of performance but in terms of handling it will likely be a close call

The Micra diesel has modest power and torque figures but it manages to offer brisk acceleration. Importantly, there is no turbo lag and hence, it demands less gear shifts. Gear throws are a bit long, but the gear action is positive and clutch is light.

The i20 diesel is more powerful for it comes with a 1.4-litre CRDi engine that puts out 89 bhp of power and 219 Nm of torque. The 6-speed manual transmission has well distributed torque making it an easy hatchback to drive in both city and highways.

Handling wise, both the cars are best when driven in a sedate manner. The i20 and Micra both have light steerings that come handy during city driving. However both the cars fail to inspire confidence when driven at three digit speeds.

Summing up, the i20 diesel is better to drive than the Micra, but handling wise, both are more or less equal.

Space and Comfort

Inside the Nissan Micra, seats are comfortable and the seat fabric in ‘greige’ (grey + beige), which is easy on the eyes. The new i20 has dark upholstery that gives the impression of lesser space. But actually, the new i20 is wider and offers more shoulder room than the Micra. Also, the rear passenger gets slightly more headroom in the new i20 as against the Micra. The only drawback is the transmission floor hump that eats up the middle passenger’s legroom in the rear.

Photo: The Micra is cute looking car with good mileage and comfort levels but the i20 is ahead by just a bit

With regard to comfort, the new i20 has a slight edge over the Micra. This is because the rear seat in i20 offers sufficient under thigh support unlike Micra where the padding for legs has been compromised on with the interest of offering more leg room.

Overall, the new i20 has an edge over the Micra in terms of space and comfort.

Looks

The Nissan Micra is a well-rounded hatchback infused with retro styling. The fog-like headlamps give the Micra, a unique front face making it standing out of all other hatchbacks. The large air dam at the front bumper doesn’t gel with the miniscule grille above having a single horizontal chrome line. The side profiles of the Micra have low-set shoulder lines and plenty of glass area. The rear of the Nissan Micra has unconventionally sculpted tail lamp cluster surrounds.

The new i20 looks sedate yet sporty, thanks to the clever usage of the Hyundai’s fluidic design theme. The headlamp design, fog lamps and mildly contoured hexagonal grille give a dynamic stance to the i20. The rear of the new i20 is very similar to the old model except for the refreshed tail lamp cluster and reflectors on the lower bumper. In short, the design language makes the new i20 look more like a European hatchback than a Korean small car.

The proportionate curves and dynamic lines make the new i20 a better looking premium hatchback than the Micra. However looks are more a matter of personal taste.

Features

The Micra XV premium comes with features such as intelligent key with push button start, driver airbag, front fog lamps, automatic AC and alloy wheels. The new i20 Asta not only has the aforementioned features offered in Micra but in addition comes with passenger airbag, ABS with EBD, rear disc brakes, lane change indicator, auto-fold and heated mirrors, rear camera, auto headlight and rain sensing wipers.

Clearly, when it comes to features, the new i20 wins over the Micra, hands down.

Price, mileage and overall VFM

The Micra diesel XV Premium is priced at Rs. 6.41 lakh which is Rs. 1.03 lakh cheaper than the new i20 diesel 1.4 Asta priced at Rs. 7.44 lakh. With regard to mileage, the Micra has a claimed mileage of 23.08 kmpl which is slightly higher than that of the new i20 (21.9 kmpl).

The Micra has an advantage in terms of pricing and mileage, but on the down side, it lacks safety features such as passenger airbag and ABS. Setting apart the comfort and safety features, the Micra is slightly better value for money than the new i20.

Pros and Cons

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Verdict

The Micra diesel is easy to drive, returns high mileage and has essential comfort features. But the lack of passenger side airbag and ABS for a car at Rs. 6.4 lakh price point is unacceptable. The new i20 on the other hand, though priced higher, comes with loads of features and feels premium in terms of looks, interiors, fit and finish as well.

Although it has a premium price, the new i20 is a well rounded diesel premium hatchback and is our pick in this comparison.